These newly instituted fees are the worst idea I've ever heard of. I'm completely pissed that the American public seems to be willing to just roll over and play dead on this. Okay, so it seems like a small amount of money to pay for 'all we get'. Hogwash, its a rip off and it'll just give more money to the USFS for projects we don't need. If a trail is meant to be where it is, enough people will us it and it will stay there. Or it won't. And if this is sounding naive, let me tell you that I've been hiking the Sierra Madre for going on fourteen years now and I've seen the work it takes to keep a trail up. But I don't believe that is what the money will be used for. I'm sure that the fee for Yosemite was a small sum once upon a time and now they charge $20.00 to get in. The answer is not to charge people money, because power follows money and trouble follows power. The only thing that money will get the Angeles National Forest is development. And that is the last thing that I want for my beloved Angels.
Nature should not be mandated to be accessible to everyone. That is not Nature's purpose, in my opinion. We need places near the city which are large, wild and hard to get to so that those places are not overwhelmed by the throngs next to them. That is real Nature. That is what we need, the wildlife in those forests need and what the forests need.
Comment from Tom Chester:
Re: If a trail survives, it survives because people walk on it and use it.
That statement is not always true. Major storms can cause major damage that simple use does not restore. Take a look at the Little Santa Anita trail just before First Water - as you are heading toward First Water from Sierra Madre, the trail suddenly leaves the contours you are on and switchbacks to the left up the mountain. The trail didn't used to do that - it continued on the contour in a more direct fashion. Go to the gate there and study where the trail used to be. It took significant trail work by volunteers to make the new trail bridging the parts disconnected by the erosion.
Go to Fees for the Angeles National Forest
Copyright © 1997 by Michael Bratkowski & Tom Chester.
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Updated 1 December 1997.